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European Society of Cardiology announces London return in 2021

World's biggest cardiology meeting backs London despite Brexit as city commits to healthy streets

L-R Isabel Bardinet, CEO of ESC and London Mayor Sadiq Khan

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) has shrugged off the UK’s decision to leave the EU by announcing its return to London in 2021 for the world’s biggest gathering of heart specialists.

The ESC decision was hailed as a ‘huge vote of confidence in London’s position as a world-class city for conferences and events’, as well as a leading centre for medical research.

When the ESC last came to London in 2015, it generated £100m of economic benefit for the city, attracting more than 32,700 delegates from 140 countries, a record at the time. 

The decision to stage the congress in London comes as Mayor, Sadiq Khan, adopted the Healthy Streets Approach, prioritising health in transport and planning decisions, and investing £2.1 billion into street schemes that promote walking, cycling and public transport over private car use.

Analysis from the Mayor’s office shows that if every Londoner walked or cycled for 20 minutes a day it would save the National Health Service £1.7 billion in treatment costs over the next 25 years and result in 16,400 fewer cases of heart disease. 

Today’s announcement was made during a meeting between Isabel Bardinet, ESC’s Chief Executive Officer, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at City Hall.

The meeting was also attended by leading cardiologists including Professor Kim Fox, Professor of Clinical Cardiology and Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, and Professor Simon Ray, President Elect of the British Cardiovascular Society.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Cardiovascular disease remains the world's biggest killer, and the European Society of Cardiology and its members are at the forefront of the crucial battle against heart disease. 

"I’m delighted that London will be hosting so many of the world’s top heart disease specialists from around the world, and as Mayor I’m proud that we’re investing record amounts in increasing physical activity, and preventing heart disease among Londoners. We all know someone who has been directly affected by cardiovascular disease, and I want London to be a world leader in our approach to preventing heart problems”.  

Isabel Bardinet, ESC’s CEO, said: "ESC Congress is dedicated to expanding the boundaries of cardiovascular medicine so that people can lead longer, healthier lives. For one week in August 2021, London will be the hub in this battle against heart disease, the number one killer in the world today, and we are proud to join forces with such a dynamic, forward thinking city."

The Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy sets out ambitious plans to increase physical activity and improve the health of Londoners over the coming decades. It includes increasing the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, compared to 64 per cent now.

At the centre of this, is the Mayor’s new Healthy Streets Approach, with £2.1bn being allocated to schemes which will make it easier for Londoners to walk, cycle and use public transport more often. 

Tracy Halliwell, Director of Business Tourism and Major Events at London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency and convention bureau for the city, said: “ESC congress choosing to return to our city really is an endorsement of the Mayor’s plan to help improve the health of Londoners and of the capital’s expertise in medical research. This is also a great vote of confidence in the city’s ability to organise and host a high-profile, very large-scale congress, following the incredibly successful 2015 event. We look forward to welcoming delegates to London and to play a small part in the great strides they will no doubt be making in cardiovascular science.”


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